Johnny Byrnes
Theo James Boege
It is a classic sitcom scene, a mother and father, worried about the social life of their young child, asks the cool, older neighbor boy if he would be interested in getting paid to be his friend. Of course, the older boy loves the idea of hanging out with some kid, and getting paid to do so, even though they have nothing in common. Sure enough, the younger, unpopular, antisocial boy finds out that his "friend" was there, was because he had been getting paid to do so.
That is my situation, except not as sad. I am a P.C.A. (or as some may be more familiar) a personal care assistant, for a young boy with downs syndrome, named Theo James Boege. I started working with Theo and his family in October of 2014, I was a freshman, and my dad had told me about making some money. And to be quite honest, I was a tad uncomfortable with the idea of working with someone with down syndrome, for I had no experience with anything like that at all in the past.
I love what I do. My daily routine with Theo is to pick him up from school, he loves showing off his "Johnny-Bear", (yes, that is what he calls me) to all the kids at school because I'm a big senior who can drive a car, and he is one of the few who does not have to get picked up by the bus or by his parents. I take him home, make him some food, (he absolutely LOVES mac and cheese) and then we will do some of his homework together, and then we play. I'm from Minnesota, (yes, I have an accent, I hope you are now reading this with the utmost stereotypical northwestern accent now), and the temperature during the winter can be absolutely frigid, so during the winter season we will usually play indoor hockey or football, or video games and such, but during the summer/spring/fall seasons, we are constantly outside.
Theo obviously has a lack of social skills, and nobody knows more than I do that at times he may lack a filter, but nonetheless he strives for attention, I brought him to a varsity football game this year and the kids ate it up, he was the absolute center of attention. He loved it.
No, if not for the money, I would never have done what I do now, but I can honestly say, Theo has changed my life for the better, more than I have even for his. He has shown me an innocent side to everything, he has a brilliant imagination, and a wonderful sense of humor. He calls me his best friend, and honestly, I can confidently call him one of mine.